Two years ago we adopted a blind coonhound whose name was Priscilla when we met her at All Breed Rescue. Little was known about her. She came to Vermont from a shelter in the south; she had had puppies just before making that transition, though none of them survived. She was about 5 or 6 years old, and she was missing one eye. The other eye was clouded over by what we though might be a cataract condition, but we later learned was scar tissue.
We renamed her Daisy Mason, paying homage to the magnificent woman who was the housekeeper in the home where I lived and worked in Kentucky for many happy teenage summers. Daisy Mason, the woman, was small of stature but large of personality. She worked her way, daily, through the southern mansion inhabited by the wonderful Jones family, with grace and always, always, humming a tune. Miss Daisy Mason, like her canine namesake, was loyal, loving and peaceful. A true southern grande dame survivor.
Though the story of her past remains a mystery to us, Daisy has taught us that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that she may have been neglected or abused. She probably was, and yet she shows no signs whatsoever of having gone through those hard times. She lives each day as if she has no memory -- a deep and powerful blessing. Last year, after living with us for just eight months, Daisy made it through the difficult testing process to become a member of the Therapy Dogs of Vermont family, proving that though one may have been "disabled," displaced or mistreated, one has the capacity to turn those struggles into something beautiful. Daisy, once abused, is one of the most powerful healers I know.
Lessons From a Blind Coonhound
- Let go of the past. Right now. It is done, it is over and if you drag it with you into today, you will miss the opportunity to receive the loving gestures that have arrived. You will miss noticing that the world is on your side.
- Howl when the spirit moves you. It doesn't have to be pretty; that's not the point
- Sit and stay are way overrated.
- Be of service. Even the most impoverished among us have something to offer. Do not spend your life in victimhood. Get yourself to the nearest nursing home or hospital or school and be with people who need you.
- Trust. The world will let you down, beat you down, turn you around and spit you out. Even when it feels like a bad idea, keep trusting. Eventually someone who believes in you is going to come along and you will to want to be open and ready to receive that pass.
- Be still. Be patient with the humans around you, especially the ones who think they know everything.
- Though someone may have hurt you, be loving, be gentle. Teach everyone, by virtue of your own behavior, how to be better.
- It is absolutely, positively NOT a waste of time to lay down upon a warm slate tile on a sunny day.
- Even if your best friend looks and acts nothing like you, love him anyway. He may be an overweight, food-thieving brown Lab, but he loves being with you and that's enough.
- Though you may not be able to see what's up ahead, go there anyway. For certain you are going to bonk into some obstacles, but keep going. Go with curiosity and glee. Walking tethered to someone else's lead might be safer, but running ahead on your own is far more satisfying. And fun. Discover for yourself the wonders of the world.